News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th February 2008

The newly refurbished King's Head Theatre in Islington has announced a season of in house produced shows comprising: the premieres of The Black And White Ball, book by Warner Brown, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, a musical mystery concerning a 20 year old murder, directed by Matthew White, opening on 8th April; the musical Betwixt, book, music and lyrics by Ian McFarlane, in which, fulfilling an ancient prophecy, a fantasy novelist is transported to another realm, directed by Kate Golledge, opening on 13th May; Lloyd Evans's Grand Slam, a comedy about a failed British tennis player and her bodyguard, directed by Tamara Harvey, from 24th June; The Shadow Master, a tragi-comic social satire adapted from J M Barrie's Dear Brutus and directed by Stephanie Sinclaire, from 29th July; David Gow's Cherry Docs, about a Jewish lawyer hired to defend a violent skinhead accused of a racist murder, directed by Sherrill Gow, from 9th September; the musical Street Magic, book by Lisa Forrell, who also directs, music and lyrics by Brett Kahr, based on the true story of the daughter of a Brixton brothel owner, from 21st October; and the musical Godiva, book and lyrics by Guy Bolton, music by Vivian Ellis, about the lady with the horse and no clothes, from 9th December.

New York TheatreNet: The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, with Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Suzanne Burden, Michael Feast, Scot Handy, Paul Shelly and Martin Turner, directed by Rupert Goold, is Broadway bound. The show, which is currently playing a sold out season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, will transfer to the Lyceum Theatre for an 8 week run from 29th March.

Future productions at the Jermyn Street Theatre include Richard Roques's The History Of London Until It Got Burnt Down, a 'Reduced Shakespeare Company' style scamper through 1700 years of the capital's history, with Charles Grant, Tom Hutchinson and Ed Cooper-Clarke, opening on 27th March; and Antic Disposition's production of Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, with Andrew Hayden-Smith, Ami Sayers and Susan Penhaligon, directed by Ben Horslen and John Risebero, opening on 24th April.

Self styled 'Psychological illusionist' Derren Brown will bring Derren Brown Mind Reader: An Evening Of Wonders, his stage show that is currently touring, to the Garrick Theatre from 2nd May to 7th June. The show is directed by Andy Nyman.

Ian Marshall Fisher's Lost Musicals series, presenting neglected shows by great American Broadway theatre writers, is returning with a new season of semi-staged performances by West End regulars on Sunday afternoons at the Lilian Baylis Theatre. Park Avenue, book by George S Kaufman and Nunnally Johnson, music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, a 1940s satire on relationships and divorce amongst the wealthy, will make its European debut playing from 30th March to 27th April; and Sail Away, book, music and lyrics by Noel Coward, about a brash American working as a hostess on a British cruise ship, will play from June 15th to 13th July. All performances are preceded by introductory talks from guest speakers.

The Society for Theatre Research has announced the short list for the Theatre Book Prize for books published in 2007, which comprises: Children And Theatre In Victorian Britain by Anne Varty; London's Grand Guignol And The Theatre Of Horror by Richard J. Hand and Michael Wilson; Harlequin Empire: Race, Ethnicity And The Drama Of The Popular Enlightenment by David Worrall; Rudolf Nureyev by Julie Kavanagh; Spectacular Flirtations by Gill Perry and The State Of The Nation by Michael Billington. The winner will be announced at a reception at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane at 11.30 am 1st April.

Tovah Feldshuh will reprise her Broadway performance in the British premiere of William Gibson's Golda's Balcony, directed by Scott Schwartz, opening at the Shaw Theatre in Euston on 12th June. The Manhattan Ensemble Theatre production of the play about the life of Golda Meir, the schoolteacher who became Israel's fourth prime minister, broke the record for the longest running one person show on Broadway, playing 493 performances.

The 31st London Handel Festival runs from 13th March to 24th April, with highlights including: a concert performance of Joshua, with Katherine Manley, Alexandra Gibson, Allan Clayton, George Humphreys and Laurence Cummings; a semi staged performance of Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, with Gilliam Ramm, Clare Wilkinson and Lukas Jakobski; and a fully staged production of Atalanta, in collaboration with the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. Events are mainly at St George's Church Hanover Square (best known as setting for the celebration of Alfred Doolittle's nuptials in My Fair Lady) plus the Wigmore Hall, Foundling Museum, Middle Temple, and the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. Further information can be found on the LHF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Edinburgh Fringe hit AutoAuto!, a concert performance where the principle instrument is a Vauxhall Astra Mk2, will be staged at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, from 10th April to 4th May. Performers Christian von Richthofen, Rolf Clausen, Kristian Bader have fashioned instruments from the car, and will give a programme ranging from Bach and Tchaikovsky through Benny Goodman to Motorhead.

DV8 Physical Theatre's new show To Be Straight With You, created and performed by Lloyd Newson, with Ankur Bahl, Dan Canham, Seke Chimutengwende, Ermira Goro, Hannes Langolf, Coral Messam, Paradigmz, Rafael Pardillo and Ira Mandela Siobhan, will open a national tour at Nottingham Playhouse on 11th April. It is an exploration of tolerance, intolerance, religion and sexuality, based on interviews with people affected by these issues. The show will also play at the National Theatre from 30th October to 9th November.

The spring season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will include a company of barristers, directed by Sally Knyvette, performing the courtroom drama To Kill A Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel from Harper Lee's novel about prejudice in a small southern town during the American great depression of the 1930s, from 7th to 10th May; Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, following a day in the life of a small South Wales seaside town, directed by Malcolm Taylor, opening on 14th May, a London Theatre Company production; and the Bristol Tobacco Factory production of Ron Hutchinson's Topless Mum, a satire on the ethics of tabloid journalism, directed by Caroline Hunt, opening on 2nd June.